WORLD cultural heavyweights gathered in Liverpool for a unique conference that revealed some of the real legacies of the city’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008.
Sir Bob Scott, who led Liverpool’s culture bid, was joined by leading political, media and artistic figures such as Lord Michael Heseltine, Maria Balshaw CBE, Ulrich Fulchs and TV presenter Jon Snow at a conference that contributed to a ground-breaking final report into the role culture plays in the development of cities.
The Impacts 18 conference called Cities of Culture 30 Years On: Who Has the Edge? held at Liverpool Town Hall, with Dr Beatriz Garcia unveiling the emerging initial findings of the Institute of Cultural Capital’s longitudinal study which evaluates the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of Liverpool holding the title of European Capital of Culture 2008.
The initial research – which has taken place over the past two years – updates the Impacts 08 study undertaken between 2005 and 2010. It found:
- European Capital of Culture was a turning point for perceptions of Liverpool and almost half of people living in Britain (47%) and 70% of Liverpool residents agree that the ECoC shaped Liverpool into a more desirable place to move to.
- 42% of Liverpool residents said European Capital of Culture 2008 introduced them, and their families, to new and different cultural activities, with 44% now claiming they have an active interest in cultural events as a result of the year.
- In 2018, three quarters (74%) of Liverpool residents are now interested in going to museums and galleries – compared to just 26% in 2007.
- 60% of residents feel that 2008 had a positive impact on their lives.
- Nationally, 95% of those interviewed who were aware of the culture title, said Liverpool is a much better place to live as a result and 88% have positive perceptions of Liverpool.
- There has been a 43% growth in grassroots cultural initiatives across the city centre, with Everton/Kirkdale seeing a 500% increase.
- Nationally, 74% feel the event was important to the city and has had a long-term positive impact.
- The majority of Liverpool residents (90%) agree that since 2008, it is a more creative city.
- There is high satisfaction levels in relation to the city’s cultural offer.
- Coverage of Liverpool cultural stories grew by 200% across all national papers between 1996 and 2008 – with broadsheets sustaining interest in the cultural offer of the city.
The full research document is set to be released in Spring 2019, with subjects discussed at the Impacts 18 conference informing the final research.
Director of the Institute of Cultural Capital, Dr Beatriz Garcia, said: “Culture has been the backbone to Liverpool’s cultural renaissance, and collating evidence to look at what impact the 2008 title had on the city has been a momentous task.
“The data revealed is an overview of some of the headlines we have identified so far. We wanted to ensure evidence from the Impacts 18 conference forms part of the final research which is set to be made public in early 2019.
“The report will present unquestionable evidence about the value of culture for the city and will be a never-before documented journey which we look forward to making public next year.”
Phil Redmond, Chair of the UK City of Culture progamme which was borne out of the success of Liverpool’s 2008 year, said: “Engaging people in culture, of whatever form, engages them in their communities, promotes wider understanding and tolerance and leads to a better understanding of the causes of social challenges and what is needed to prevent them, rather than wait and struggle to mobilise resources to curtail or alleviate them.
“Liverpool discovered this in 2008. Since then, the city has placed culture at the heart of its visitor growth economy. Numbers have never been higher, hotel occupancy never greater. Confidence never higher.
“Impacts 18, building as it does on the original Impacts 08 research, evaluates what has happened in Liverpool over the ten years since 2008. It should also give confidence to both investors and public decision makers to collaborate and support the next wave of creative ideas.”
To complement this internationally significant symposium and research, a new legacy website has been launched which looks back at Liverpool’s special culture year and includes key information documenting 2018. To find out more visitwww.liverpoolculturallegacy.co.uk.
Cities of Culture 30 Years On: Who Has the Edge? forms part of the Liverpool 2018programme which celebrates the tenth anniversary of the game-changing European Capital of Culture Year. The conference is supported by the British Council and CreART. CreART is a European network of public and private institutions committed to developing the cultural, social and economic offer of cities.